“If legalization advocates just took a little bit more time and were not so obsessed with doing this at a thousand miles per hour,” he added, “it might be better. Instead, they are helping precipitate a backlash.”
In Washington, the Yakima County Commission has already said that it plans to ban marijuana businesses in the unincorporated areas outside Yakima city. Clark County, Washington, is considering a ban on recreational sales that would affect the huge marijuana market in Portland, Ore., just across the Columbia River. And the state’s second most populous county, Pierce, just south of Seattle, said last month it would bar recreational businesses from opening.
Pockets of retrenchment have emerged in other states as well. In California, one of 20 states and the District of Columbia that allow marijuana use for medical purposes, a state appeals court said late last year that local governments could prohibit the growing of medical marijuana. Fresno County promptly did so, becoming the first county in the state, medical marijuana advocates said, to ban all marijuana cultivation.
Lawmakers in Oregon are considering a bill that would allow municipalities to restrict or prohibit medical marijuana. Colorado’s recreational marijuana law opened for business Jan. 1 with retail sales, but dozens of local governments, including Colorado Springs, the state’s second-largest city, have prohibited marijuana commerce.